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Pithuophis melanoleucus annectens - Chris Brown.jpg
San Diego gopher snake
Pituophis catenifer annectens
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Pituophis
Holbrook, 1842

Arizona, Churchilla, Coluber, Elaphis, Epiglottophis, Pityophis, Rhinechis, Spilotes[1]

Pituophis is a genus of nonvenomous colubrid snakes commonly referred to as gopher snakes, pine snakes, and bull snakes, which are endemic to North America.

Geographic range[edit]

Species and subspecies within the genus Pituophis are found throughout Mexico, the Southern and Western United States, and Western Canada.[2]


All species of Pituophis are large and powerfully built. The head is relatively small in proportion to the body, and it is only slightly distinct from the neck. The rostral is enlarged and elongated, imparting a characteristic somewhat pointed shape to the head. All the species occurring in the United States have four prefrontals instead of the usual two.[2]

Modified epiglottis[edit]

In all snakes of the genus Pituophis the epiglottis is peculiarly modified so that it is thin, erect, and flexible. When a stream of air is forced from the trachea, the epiglottis vibrates, thereby producing the peculiarly loud, hoarse hissing for which bull snakes, gopher snakes, and pine snakes are well known.[3]

Species and subspecies[edit]


  1. ^ Wright AH, Wright AA (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes) (Pituophis, pp. 585–626, Figures 171–181, Map 46).
  2. ^ a b Conant R (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Genus Pituophis, pp. 198–201 + Plate 27 + figure 57 + Map 147).
  3. ^ Schmidt KP, Davis DD (1941). Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 365 pp. (Genus Pituophis, pp. 158–160).

Further reading[edit]

  • Holbrook JE (1842). North American Herpetology; or, A Description of the Reptiles Inhabiting the United States. Vol. IV. Philadelphia: J. Dobson. 138 pp., 35 plates. (Genus Pituophis, p. 7).

External links[edit]